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FINALLY FREE FROM ISIS: Christians celebrate first Mass in two years within church's charred remains

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10/31/2016 (2 years ago)
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The solemn Mass was a time of both celebration and remembrance.

In a moving ceremony, Christians gathered together in a Catholic church burned and vandalized by ISIS soldiers.

Christian citizens and troops entered the damaged Church to practice Mass (Reuters).

Christian citizens and troops entered the damaged Church to practice Mass (Reuters).


Catholic Online (
10/31/2016 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Qaraqosh, Mass, Christians, church

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When ISIS took over the predominantly Christian city of Qaraqosh, many people were killed.

Homes were looted, women were taken as slaves, children were forced to join the militants and chaos reigned.

All Christian symbols were destroyed, churches were burned and beautiful stained-glass windows were shattered.

For two years Christians were unable to openly worship the Lord, to congregate and celebrate Mass, or to wear Christian symbols - until now.

They celebrated Mass in the ruins.

They celebrated Mass in the ruins (Reuters).

In the charred remains of a church covered in debris, Catholic citizens and soldiers gathered to celebrate the first Mass in two years.

Several came together at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, where church bells sounded for the first time in years.

Christians celebrate Mass for the first time in two years within a burned and vandalized church.

Christians celebrate Mass for the first time in two years within a burned and vandalized church (Reuters).

"Today Qaraqosh is free of Daesh [ISIS]," Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Butrus Moshe proclaimed.

"Our role today is to remove all the remnants of Daesh. This includes erasing sedition, separation and conflicts, which victimized us."

Iraqi priests came together to celebrate at the Grand Immaculate Church.

Iraqi priests came together to celebrate at the Grand Immaculate Church (Reuters).

He continued, adding: "Political and sectarian strife, separating between one man and another, between ruler and follower, these mentalities must be changed."

Members stood in agreement with the bishop, much must be done before the world will return to peace but the Church is ready to move.

None cared that the altar was filthy and small.

None cared that the altar was filthy and small (Reuters).

Qaraqosh was once home to the largest Christian community in all Iraq. It housed at least a quarter of the country's Christians and was a place of respite from the dominating Muslim culture surrounding it.

Unfortunately, on August 6, 2014, Kurdish troops stationed at the city for protection withdrew. ISIS took advantage and stole the city, as well as three other Christian-majority towns.

In the fight to take back Mosul, Iraqi forces cleared ISIS from Qaraqosh and many other surrounding cities.

Now liberated from Sharia law, Qaraqosh is free to clean their churches, welcome its citizens back and rebuild.


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